Monday 15 February

Today as I heard the birds twittering very loudly, I remembered that my mother used to say that Valentine’s Day was the birds’ wedding day. I think perhaps the birds were very excited by the rapid rise in temperature, which meant that all the snow disappeared and some edible scraps were revealed. But then I read in The Times that Chaucer wrote in his Parliament of Fowls, “on Seynt Valentyne’s Day/Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make.” So Chaucer also heard the birds twittering loudly in February and drew his own conclusions.

I watched the final episode of The Serpent last night. It was a truly gruesome and bizarre tale, and no one really knows how many deaths Soubraj was responsible for. He remains in prison in Nepal. The dramatised version of the story was very well done, I thought, though sometimes the skipping backwards and forwards in the timeline was a bit confusing. Th re-creation of hippy Bangkok and Nepal in the 1970’s was very convincing. I was never there, but people who were, said it was just like that, utterly hedonistic. Now to watch the end of Finding Alice.

I was back at Lloyd Park this afternoon, for another circuit with another friend. This time the weather was positively balmy at 12C. Being half term it was also very busy, which was good news for the cafe. I had to smile today at the government’s suggestion that it may soon be permissible to sit on a park bench and have a coffee with a friend. Hm, I think that has been going on for a long while. The possibility of booking a holiday in April is infinitely more exciting, and for most people, schools reopening on 8 March even better news.

Two year old Adam is over excited by the arrival of the Oddbox full of fruit and vegetables. He unpacks it, naming as much as he knows, and learning a few new ones, like celeriac. But he was good on broccoli and aubergine. Rather more impressive than the supermarket checkout girl who did not know what broad beans were. But it is a wonderful teaching aid, for colours, counting, textures (shiny, for the aubergine). Plus you even get to eat what you are looking at. He apparently took a big bite out of the broccoli.

I have to say that Philip Glass is not normally my kind of music, but I heard this today whilst driving, and found it very haunting. I am not very patient with tunes which meander, and repeat, but somehow this drew me in, and I had to listen to the end to find out what it was. Perhaps this is something we should all do in lockdown, extend our range of musical and literary experience. Oblige ourselves to focus on something previously unfamiliar, or even disliked, to see if a second opinion is worthwhile.

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